Navigating Midlife’s Maze by Nick Elston

A man’s guide to mental health and beyond.

As we journey through life, each decade throws its own unique set of challenges our way. However, there’s something peculiarly tricky about navigating the mental health landscape for me in their 40s and 50s.

Hi there, I’m Nick Elston, and at the ripe young age of 46, I’ve seen a thing or two about life’s ups and downs, twists and turns. Let’s dive into this topic with the seriousness it deserves, but let’s also crack a smile or two along the way. After all laughter can sometimes be the best medicine.

The Silent Battle

For many men hitting their 40s and 50s, life can suddenly feel like an uncharted territory filled with questions about purpose, achievements and what lies ahead. The societal pressure to ‘have it all figured out’ by now adds an extra layer of complexity, often leading to a silent struggle with mental health. And yet, amidst trying to be the rock for everyone else, many men forget the golden rule; you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Why So Serious?

Humour has an incredible power to diffuse tension, even when discussing heavy topics like mental health and suicide. So, while we’re navigating these murky waters, let’s remember to find moments of lightness. Have you ever tried yoga and ended up looking more like a confused pretzel than a Zen master? Yep, me too. It’s these moments of humility and laughter that remind us we’re all human, all fumbling through life’s manual that frankly, none of us were given.

The Path Less Whispered

Talking about mental health, especially with a nod to suicide, is tough for anyone, but historiacally even more so for men. The stigma attached to admitting ‘I’m not okay’ is like carrying a double edged sword while wearing blindfolds. It’s time we change the narrative and create spaces where vulnerability isn’t seen as a weakness but as the ultimate strength.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

The good news? It’s never too late to take a step in the right direction. Mental health is a journey, not a destination, and every small step counts. Whether it’s pick up the phone t chat with a friend, joining a local walking group, or simply sitting in the sunshine for a few extra minutes each day, these small moments can add up to significant changes in our well-being.

The Call to Arms (or a Friendly Chat)

Reaching out for help is brave, not a sign of defeat. If you or someone you know is struggling, remember there’s always support available. I’m here to share, listen, and guide you through the power speaking and transformation. And if you’re ever in doubt, Samaritans are just a phone call away at 116123.

In a world that often demands us to be everything to everyone, it’s crucial we take a moment to check in with ourselves. Remember, navigating the maze of midlife and mental health is not a journey you have to take alone. Together, let’s forge a path through speaking, sharing and supporting each other. For more resources and a listening ear, head over to

5 Learning Points:

  • Vulnerability is Strength: It’s okay not to be okay. Opening up about your struggles is the first step towards healing.
  • Humour as Therapy: Finding humour in the daily grind can lighten the load and bring perspective to our challenges.
  • Community Matters: You’re not alone. Surrounding yourself with a supportive community and make all the difference.
  • Small Steps, Big Impact: Don’t underestimate the power of small, positive changes in your daily routine.
  • Reach Out: Whether it’s a professional, a friend, or a helpline like Samaritans, never hesitate to reach out for help.

This article first appeared in our Conversations Issue of SKQ, which you can read in full here.